Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Personal Story and Some Inspiration From Avengers Assemble

So, a couple of nights ago I saw for the Avengers for the second time. Something that, in itself, is not that interesting but what happened afterwards was something I have never really done before.

There are not many trains that run from Newcastle to my home town after 10pm so when the Hulk was catching a falling Tony Stark after the big battle in New York at ten past 10 and my train was at 10:21. I started to feel a little under time pressure.

So I ran. I ran for the train. It is just under a mile from the cinema to the station and I made that train with 3 minutes to spare and looking back now I can’t believe I managed it.

Now perhaps you’re thinking, she ran for a train, so what?  Well, being able to run is not something I take for granted.

I have a condition called Reactive Arthritis, it is a type of inflammatory arthritis that typically effects people acutely for a few months and then they get better. But in some people it produces a chronic condition where the sufferer will go through phases of ‘flair ups’ (sometimes it can even cause damage to organs in very unfortunate people – luckily I am not one of them).

While I have several flair ups in my teenage years, they were never serious enough to prevent me from walking, they made me nervous about running, dancing and jumping but they did not seriously limit my life (although it was a little strange trying to sit my A-levels with very swollen fingers).

My first major incident, the one that lead to my diagnosis was when I was 20. I had a huge flair up after a very serious bout of food poisoning (I still can’t eat BBQ chicken to this day). Shortly after recovering from that I noticed my ankle began to swell, and while I was able to keep walking on it for a few days after about a week it was so painful I could not longer stand up.

I didn’t understand what was wrong, I hurt so much and I was afraid of going to the doctors so it took me a couple of weeks of being house and occasionally bed bound before I gathered the strength (and a walking stick stolen from my Grandmother) before I made it to the doctors.

To cut a very long story short, with a lot of doctors, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, immunosuppressants and time I began to get better.

In the following years I kept as active as possible, it’s the main reason I spent so much time dancing, but the hardest thing to get over was the fear.

I’ve never really spoken about my feelings on what I went through, I’ve always felt that so many other people go through worse things in their life-time that I didn’t really have a right to think or complain about it again.

However recently I started having problems walking and having difficulty with my hands. I don’t think its too bad, but it made me so afraid of what might happen to me, that I could end up in the same situation again.

So how does this relate to the Avengers?

Well there is just so much physical action in that movie its inspiring, everyone is running, jumping, kicking, flying… just watching it makes me want to run and jump too.

The whole time I was running to the station I was thinking, ‘Do NOT miss that train’ but also ‘Be like Black Widow, she wouldn’t be tired now'. I'm not going to lie, my ankle has been paying the price since, but I am hoping that I will be able to go out for a proper run soon (if it ever stops raining).

It was an almost out of body experience, and all I could feel was that I want to be better. I am fortunate that the type of arthritis I have actually gets better with exercise - it just takes some time. So all I can say is that if a film like this can have that kind of affect on me who else does it affect? I can only hope that other people feel inspired in the same way I was.

I have decided that I need to lose weight in order to reduce the stress on my joints and to help me get fitter. One day I'd like to make a cosplay costume of Black Widow so perhaps this is also the start of my journey to that day.

Wish me luck, and I hope that if you’ve ever had any health or physical problems you can find something to inspire you too.

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